SCOTUS Rules immigration Law Does Not Give Detained Immigrants’ Right to Periodic Bond Hearings

SCOTUS Rules immigration Law Does Not Give Detained Immigrants’ Right to Periodic Bond Hearings

The United States Supreme Court ruled that federal laws do not grant detained immigrants the right to bond hearings twice a year. The SCOTUS decision overturned a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


SCOTUS Opinion

In a section of the majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., he wrote the Court of Appeals decision was the opposite to relevant legal provisions. Four other justices joined the majority opinion. The 9th Circuit’s earlier opinion held that there were procedures required for bond hearings every six months. Thus, during which the government must show the continued custody is necessary by using evidence. The Court of Appeals read the requirements into the federal laws to avoid deciding constitutional issues. This act is known as the canon of constitutional avoidance. The SCOTUS found the 9th Circuit rewrote and instead of interpreting, the statute when into use.

The SCOTUS retained the case for the 9th Circuit to determine the immigrants’ constitutional claims. They were also instructed to decide whether the immigrants could pursue the case as a class action lawsuit. Justices Roberts, Jr., and Kennedy joined the majority opinion while justices Thomas and Gorsuch agreed with the judgment.


Amicus Brief

In an amicus brief, the American Bar Association (ABA) argued individuals being held in immigration detention should receive a bond hearing within a specific time period. They thought this in order to determine whether or not the individual poses a threat. The ABA argued that the due process clause required a bright-line rule on the issue of bond hearings and their timing. It suggested the Supreme Court should adopt the 9th Circuit’s six month deadline.


Implications of SCOTUS Decision

 The Supreme Court’s ruling means that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have a right to periodic bond hearings. It is not uncommon for immigrants to be held for long periods of time after being picked up for minor infractions. The average time of custody is 13 months, but sometimes longer.

The case  of Jennings v. Rodriguez, will affect legal permanent residents whom the government seeks to deport due act of crimes. Also, this applies to immigrants who are seeking asylum and are awaiting a court date after turning themselves in at the border. According to immigrant advocates, many of these individuals have a right to be free on bail until their case is heard in court.


If you or someone you know is facing deportation or has any other immigration issue, contact a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney today.



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